About Ayurveda

  • About Ayurveda
  • Ayurveda Dosha Theory
  • The 8 branches of Ayurveda
  • Benefits of Ayurveda

A Brief History of Ayurveda

The name Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words, “ayur” meaning life and longevity, and “veda” meaning knowledge or science. It is the “Science of Life “that teaches us to live in a truly balanced, natural and harmonious state. Practiced for more than 5,000 years, Ayurveda is the traditional natural healing system of India.

The science of Ayurveda was preached and practiced in ancient times by the omniscient sages, as revealed to them in their spiritual pursuit. It evolved into a complete health-care system over time. While modern medicine has pushed this science aside, albeit temporarily, the failure of modern medicine to counter ailments without side effects has brought Ayurveda into the forefront of complementary and alternative therapies, for those seeking other health and wellness options.

The Fundamental Concept of Ayurveda

The ideology of Ayurveda says that disease occurs in the body because of an imbalance in the body’s energy. In Ayurvedic medicine, there are 3 energy types or doshas – Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Everyone has a combination of the doshas as a part of the body system. When these energy centers are imbalanced, Ayurveda, helps to restore balance to the body.

An Ayurvedic consultation and analysis can determine your body type(s) and Santhigram Wellness can design a program especially for you!

The “Dosha” theory (Three Doshas) is one of the basic theories of Ayurveda. The word “Dosha” is a Sanskrit word whose expansion is “Dooshayati Dosha” i.e. That which gets easily vitiated is “Dosha.”

Body constituents (tissues) are always in the process of metabolism, which is a combination of deterioration (catabolism) on one side and construction (anabolism) on the other. Health is maintained by balancing these activities.

Metabolism is controlled by a lot of chemical reactions, hormonal activity etc. When these systemic and natural functions get disturbed, it results in various types of diseases. As the basic functions of the body are innumerable, the number of diseases are also innumerable. Even Hippocrates, the father of the Modern System of Medicines accepts the importance of the “Dosha” Theory.

According to Indian philosophy, the basic constituents of all beings are “Pancha Maha Bhootas.”

The five Maha bhootas are:

  • Prithvi (Earth)
  • Ap (Water)
  • Tejas (Fire)
  • Vayu (Air)
  • Akash (Ether)

The basic constituents of the human body are also the same “Pancha Maha Bhootas.” Each and every cell, system and organ is made up of these constituents. The proportion of the five “Pancha Maha Bhootas” is different in the various body systems and organs. The proportion is based on the involvement, the qualities and functions of the organs. The deficiency or excess of their involvement results in various diseases.

Ancient Ayurvedic experts developed this “Pancha Maha Bhootas” theory into the “Tri Dosha” theory for their easy diagnosis and treatment.

The “Tri Doshas” are:

  • “Vatha”
  • “Pittha”
  • “Kapha”

The “Tri Doshas” are also made up of the “Pancha Maha Bhootas”. The functions of the “Tri Doshas” should be taken in a broad spectrum.

“Tri Doshas” decide the “Prakrithi” (body constitution) of a being. If “Vatha” is predominant it is known as “Vatha Prakrithi” (Vatha constitution). A “Vatha Prakrithi” person is prone to be afflicted by “Vatha diseases” if exposed to conducive surroundings and causes. Similarly, for the “Pittha Prakrithi” and the “Kapha Prakrithi”. A brief explanation is given below.

All movements in the body are maintained by the “Vatha Dosha”. The expansion of the term “Vatha” in Sanskrit is “Tatra va gati Gandhanayoriti”, i.e. all movements and catabolic activities of body are controlled by “Vatha”.
Finer movements like cell division, circulation etc. are maintained by “Vatha”. The predominant “Maha Bhoota” involved in “Vatha Dosha” is Vayu (Air) and Akash (Ether).

The “Maha Bhoota” predominance in “Pittha” is Teja (Fire). All the digestive activities of body are controlled by “Pittha.”
Digestive activity means not only the digestion of food occurring in the intestine but the hormonal, chemical and metabolic changes are attributed to “Pittha.” Body warmth, taste, vision, appetite, skin luster, intelligence, bravery – are all qualities attributed to “Pittha”.

The predominant “Maha Bhootas” in “Kapha” are Prithvi (Earth) and Jal (Water). All of the anabolic activities of the body are maintained by “Kapha.” It contributes to the nourishment and bulky form of the body.

By analyzing these symptoms the physician can come to a conclusion that this “Dosha” is vitiated and an Ayurvedic treatment plan can be created.

Due to various causes, when the body functions become imbalanced, it results in various diseases. Whole body functions are maintained and controlled by the “Tri Doshas”. So when the “Doshas” get disturbed it results in symptoms like Vridhi(Increase),  Kshayam (Decrease) or Prakopam (Vitiation of Doshas). An observing Ayurvedic physician can diagnose the disease based on the symptoms exhibited by the “Doshas” vitiation.

The factors that cause ailments are innumerable. They may be caused by several types of microorganisms, allergens, surrounding factors, climatic conditions, systemic disorders etc. Whatever the cause, when the body is exposed to these, it results in the vitiation of “Doshas.”

Once a full Ayurvedic assessment is done, the Ayurvedic practitioner can come to a conclusion based on the involvement of “Doshas.” Ayurvedic practitioners view the human being as a whole while diagnosing the disease and administering the treatment. This specific concept is lacking in the modern system of medicine.

Many new diseases are on the rise and uncertainty prevails in the medical field when approaching several diseases. The majority of the common diseases are incurable, e.g. auto immune disorders, chronic skin diseases, arthritis, malignancy etc.

The allopathic medical system, medication of chronic diseases, is comprised of steroids and immuno suppressant drugs, which have various side effects. In this context Ayurvedic concepts are very important. They are time tested, all natural and free from side-effects. This is the reason that Ayurveda is being accepted all over the world.

Kayachikitsa (General Medicine)

Describes ailments of adults not treated by other branches of Ayurveda. Hence known as general medicine.

Balachikitsa (Obstectrics/Pediatrics)

This branch deals with the prenatal and postnatal baby care as well as the care of a woman before and during pregnancy. It also elaborates various diseases of children and their treatments.

Graha Chikitsa (Psychiatry)

The study of mental diseases and their treatments. Treatment methods include medicines, diet regulation and yogic methods for treatment of mental diseases and improving psychic power.

Salya Chikitsa (Surgery)

Maharishi ‘Sushrutha’ is the first surgeon who is also the author of Salya Chikitsa, the foremost speciality of Ayurveda. He describes various surgical operations using different surgical instruments and devices.

Salakya Chikitsa (ENT & Cephalic Diseases)

Describes ailments of adults not treated by other branches of Ayurveda. Hence known as general medicine.

Visha Chikitsa (Toxicology)

This branch deals with the toxins from vegetables, minerals and also toxins from animal origins. The concept of pollution of air and water in certain places and seasons has been given special consideration. Such pollution is also said to be the cause of various epidemics.

Rasayana (Rejuvenation Therapy)

This branch which is unique to Ayurveda, deals with prevention of diseases and promotion of a long and healthy life. It also advises how to increase our health, intellect and beauty.

Vajeekarana (Aphrodisiac Treatment)

This branch deals with the means of increasing sexual vitality and efficiency. Besides these 8 branches, Ayurveda also brings diseases affecting plants and animals into its ambit of consideration.

Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural healing that helps:

  • Restore balance in the body and mind
  • Lower stress and anxiety
  • Promote weight loss and maintenance
  • Prevent diseases and increase longevity
  • Provide a curative effect for several diseases